Lebanese city that was once enter of Phoenician civilization / MON 1-16-17 / Penny Dreadful channel for short / Intestinal fortitude informally / Arrested suspect informally
Monday, January 16, 2017
Constructor: John Wrenholt
Relative difficulty: Medium
- ONE WAY OR ANOTHER (17A: Somehow)
- TWO-WAY RADIO (30A: Walkie-talkie)
- THREE-WAY TIE (47A: Rare occurrence of "Jeopardy!")
The freebie swag, sometimes also spelled schwag, dates back to the 1960s and was used to describe promotional items. According to our files, early swag was everything from promotional records sent to radio stations to free slippers for airline passengers. In short order, this particular meaning of swag broadened and soon referred to anything given to an attendee of an event (such as a conference) as a promotional stunt. // This swag didn't gain much use until the 1990s, but it also didn't appear out of thin air. The newer meanings were based on an older, more established meaning that referred to goods acquired by unlawful means. (merriam-webster.com)
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here). [Completely] is not how I use it. I think of it as meaning "all kinds of different ways," but I guess by extension you could get to "in every way imaginable" and thus "thoroughly." At any rate, "Completely" is certainly an accepted definition. But it's a wriggly phrase, in which (according to World Wide Words) the number "six" was only the most common number to be used (probably because of alliteration). All kinds of other numbers can be found in six's place over the years. One place I looked had "Forty ways to Sunday." It's a lively idiom. The theme is clever but also flawed. Adding up the numbers of the ways was strange (not necessarily in a bad way). I'm more concerned that the revealer has this totally non-thematic extra part to it, i.e. "to Sunday." It's fine for themers to have only one phrase part (first word, last word, etc.) involved, but a revealer is supposed to work from stem to stern. A good revealer snaps, and *all* of it is involved in indicating what the hell was up with the theme. This puzzle has zero to do with Sunday. If you want that phrase as a revealer, then it should mean something in its complete form. "To Sunday" just hangs out there ... left over. Unnecessary. Abandoned. Not great.
[Debbie Harry starred in a 1997 crime drama called ... "SIX WAYS TO SUNDAY"]
SWAG, specifically a. the fact that the clue indicates a plural so I wanted it to end in "S," and b. the word "lavish." The fake-out on the plural is fair enough, but "lavish" ... ? I guess if you are an Oscar nominee and are at some party hosted by the MPAA, then sure, they'll give you an iPad or whatever, but SWAG is just slang for party favors. A gift bag. A bunch of promotional stuff. Anyone who's ever been given "a bunch of promotional stuff" (yeah, I just quoted myself), knows that ... "Lavish" doesn't enter in. Totally unnecessarily limiting adjective. Also, PEANUTS, in my world, needs "Packing" in front of it to make any sense in this context (4D: Alternative to bubble wrap). Also also, when I finally got SWAG, off of that initial "G" at 22A: Intestinal fortitude (GUTS), I wanted GRIT. I also was very tentative about the second vowel in DIVOT (32D: Golfer's gouge), and couldn't nail either ___ SAFE or GET ___ at first shot. Both of those were access points to other parts of the grid, and both required me hacking a crosses fill them out. Ended with a time slightly, but not significantly, north of normal.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
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